Pastel pink cotton candy-colored hair or aquatically themed mermaid hair may have inspired millions of Instagram posts, but these summertime fads aren’t generating enough demand to drive significant growth in home hair color. Although whimsical looks create thumb-stopping Instagram eye-candy, women are increasingly choosing to enhance their natural color through techniques such as balayage, highlights, or temporary hair color that washes out in one or two shampoos. This reflects larger trends toward natural looks in beauty, as well as concerns about some of the chemicals in products they use.
Young women 18-24 are most likely to experiment with color and have fun with bright, bold shades. Half of all women in this age group say it’s becoming more socially acceptable to wear bold colors in your hair. Among them, 40% say they regularly experiment with color and a quarter say they change their hair color with the season. With this in mind, there’s an opportunity for brands to offer temporary hair color in seasonal shades that appeal to the experimental nature of young consumers
Wash The Gray Away
Not surprisingly, the largest market for hair color is women over 55. Three quarters of women in this age group agree that coloring their hair gives them a more youthful appearance and only one-in-five feels proud of her grays. While young women are enthusiastically experimenting with bold hues, more than half of older women feel confident in knowing which color works for them and aren’t eager to try something new. Still, there are opportunities to convert older users to your brand with innovations that specifically address their concerns. Eighty percent of women over 55 say they would be interested in hair color with anti-aging benefits and 59% wait as long as possible between coloring to limit damage. Color treatments that offer hydrating properties and are gentle on hair could encourage them to try a new brand, temporary root touch-up products to extend the time between color, or moisturizing temporary hair color treatments may a new brand or remain loyal to a current favorite.
Demand for naturally formulated products continues to grow as consumers look for products without parabens, phthalates, ammonia, and other potentially harmful chemicals. Seventy-six percent of women expressed interest in all natural hair color and there’s growing interest in cruelty-free and environmentally friendly products with less packaging waste.
Shifts in consumer search behavior have enabled independent brands such as Madison Reed and Arctic Fox to compete with legacy brands. Just 40% of Google hair care searches specify a brand—instead, consumers are researching products specific to their hair type, style, and ethnicity. Similarly, searches for specific ingredients continue to increase. Those that have achieved significant growth since 2015 include Argan oil, keratin, coconut milk, biotin, and tea tree oil. In addition to branded keywords, marketers should develop keyword strategies that focus on search terms specific to unique ingredients and consumer concerns and develop content that addresses their key issues (diagnostic quizzes, tutorials) and boosts organic search visibility. Taking a different approach, consumers conduct more searches for trending hairstyles than they do for product terms. Hairstyling terms have consistently generated over 70% of hair-related search volume for the past three years, when combined with branded and unbranded terms in the category. Content that includes style guides and shoppable look books can help to boost discoverability for hair color brands.
Although there hasn’t been significant growth in the hair color market, there are opportunities for brands that develop solution-oriented products and smart digital strategies that improves discoverability and conversion for brands. Women’s Marketing offers strategic marketing services with an emphasis on building emerging and high-growth brands. Contact us today to learn more.
Sources: L2 IQ Index Hair Care & Color 2017, Mintel Hair Color U.S. January 2017